A Minnesota Dairy Queen has been swarmed with dozens of phone calls, hundreds of comments and an influx of business after a story about their 19-year-old manager’s courageous defense of a blind man went viral on Reddit.
Joey Prusak, who has been working at the popular fast-food restaurant for nearly five years, told TheBlaze Wednesday he was “shocked” and “sickened” by what he saw happen to a blind man at the hands of an elderly lady.
Prusak said that last Tuesday, one of his frequent guests, a man who is blind, walked into the local Dairy Queen. When the blind man took out his wallet to pay, a $20 bill slipped out of his pocket. An elderly woman behind the blind man then quickly snatched the bill off the floor and put it into her purse.
Prusak took matters into his own hands.
“She walked up to the counter and I asked her to please return the $20 bill to the gentleman. She looked at me like ‘what are you talking about,’” Prusak said, recounting the incident to TheBlaze. “I asked her again to return it and she said, ‘No, it’s mine I just dropped it.’ I told her I’m not going to serve you if you are going to be disrespectful as you are stealing someone’s money like that.”
The woman then allegedly became disorderly and began cursing at Prusak, who remained both firm and polite.
“She started getting really angry … started swearing and whatnot. I stayed relatively calm, I deal with customers on a daily basis. She kept swearing though and I asked her to leave the store. I told her if you aren’t going to return the money, you need to leave right now.”
She then “stormed out,” Prusak said.
But it’s what the 19-year-old manager did next that stunned customers who saw the incident as they waited in line.
“What happened next I would have never expected,” an anonymous customer wrote to Dairy Queen, which was later posted on Reddit, sending the story viral. “Your employee approached the young man and took out his wallet and said, ‘Sir, on behalf of Dairy Queen, I would like to give you the $20 that you happened to drop on the ground as you walked away from the counter.’”
“I was in shock by the generosity that your employee had, taking his own money out of his own wallet to give to the customer because some other lady decided to steal something that wasn’t hers,” the customer continued in the letter.
Prusak said it was the right thing to do.
“I felt it wasn’t right that he got ripped off by someone like that lady,” he said. “It just wasn’t a right situation, you know?”
“I just got instantly sick,” Prusak added, noting he frequently serves the blind man. “I just felt sick to my stomach.”
Since the letter to Dairy Queen from an anonymous customer was posted on Reddit, the story has gone viral, resulting in a flood of support to the small Minnesota location.
Prusak said business doubled the following days and that dozens of touched customers have called him to thank him for his actions.
But, he said his boss’ reaction was one he will forever remember.
“He wrote me in a note and put it in an envelope and goes ‘you’re the type of man I’m proud to know.’ That meant a lot to me.”
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter